Obama’s War on Israel

by Jerry Gordon and Ilana Freedman (April 2015)

When the polls closed in Israel on March 17, 2015 for election of a new government, Israel’s Parliament, the Obama White House was poised for a result far different from the stunning victory of Prime Minister Netanyahu. His Likud Party list won a plurality of 30 seats, far ahead of his nearest rival, the Zionist Union, which secured only 24 seats. Although Israel’s second leading party, led by Labor MK Yitzhak Herzog, had been in a tight lead in the exit polls, they failed to achieve the victory over Likud. 

The election results turned up another surprise as the party that finished third in the polling was the Joint Arab List (JAL), which claimed 14 seats. JAL is led by charismatic Haifa lawyer and City Council member, Ayman Oded of Hadash, a far left party that includes the Israeli Communist Party and drew votes from leftist Jewish extremists groups like B’Tselem and Peace Now. 

While exit polls showed the Zionist Union with a narrow one seat lead, the polls proved to be dead wrong. Many Israeli voters were angered by both the yellow journalism tactics of the major opposition Israeli media, Yediot Ahronoth and Israeli TV channels 2 and 10, and the leaks about the blatant interference by foreign groups allied with President Obama and leftist EU NGOs. Just weeks before the election, it was reported that these groups had spent huge amounts of money to defeat Netanyahu’s party. But the large get-out-the-vote effort in the Israeli Arab community, which had been orchestrated by Obama’s campaign organizers, failed to unseat the beleaguered Likud party. Centrist voters cast their votes for Netanyahu’s party, and even the Israeli Bedouin communities voted overwhelmingly for Likud.

In the end, the vote was clearly a solid win for the Netanyahu camp. As a result, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, in accordance with Israeli election law, invited various party leaders to come for consultations to identify possible partners in a new ruling coalition. On March 24th, he gave the nod to Netanyahu, who had cobbled together a coalition majority of Knesset seats, 67 of which came from a right center-religious coalition of parties. 

The President Takes Revenge  

It is not altogether clear when the rift between Obama and Netanyahu began, but it certainly dates back to a series of diplomatic slights by the President during several visits by the Prime Minister to the White House. 

In the end, and quite possibly because the President had made such a big issue over it, the Prime Minister gave his speech to a packed House. Ten times the number of people who crowded into the gallery had to be turned away for lack of seating. The speech received international coverage, carried live, complete and uninterrupted, on several international networks. Netanyahu was called “Churchillian” by more than one commentator.

The Prime Minister’s speech was taken very seriously by many in Congress. Only days later, Sen. Tom Cotton (AK-R) authored a letter, co-signed by 46 Senate Republican colleagues, and addressed to the Leaders of the Iranian Islamic Republic. Sent via Twitter, the letter explained the Constitutional requirements for Senatorial advice and consent on treaties and certain executive agreements.

The Administration responded to these actions by Congress with an unprecedented attack on Israel, involving allegations that Israel had spied on the Iran negotiations and had given classified information to members of Congress. Presidential aides demanded the end of a “50 year occupation” at a J Street Conference in Washington, suggesting that it would support Palestinian statehood.

Israel Surrounded by Muslim States

Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,” goes into great detail about how Israel turned into a nuclear power in the 1970s and 80s.

Incredulous Americans are now increasingly concerned that the Administration wants to achieve a rapprochement with Iran, ending 36 years of isolation, while marginalizing our closest ally in the region. Even as the Administration continues to placate and appease Iran, its developing anti-Israel policy is taking firm root in the White House and State Department. By negotiating with terrorists, even as a crescendo of cries of “Death to America” are broadcast from the lips of the Ayatollah himself, Obama has created a new reality in the Middle East that is more likely to lead to war than to peace.

Iran’s Expanding Role in the Middle East  

One particularly dangerous aspect of the Obama Iran rapprochement is the latter’s emerging hegemony over Arab States in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Lebanon. The presence of its Quds Force commander, General Qassem Suleimani, in Iraq is particularly worrisome, as he orchestrates campaigns to wrest the city of Tikrit from ISIS, and further entrenches the Iranian presence there. 

Following the collapse of the US-supported Yemeni government of President Hadi to a coalition of Shiite Houthi rebels supported by Iran, a new battleground has been created between Iran and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS, unfettered by a pro-West government and a US military presence, which was suddenly and shamefully removed on orders from Washington. The new fighting in Yemen triggered an almost immediate Saudi response. No longer waiting for a US initiative, Saudi Arabia began reinforcing its southern frontier with Yemen with troops and tanks, and deterring cross border assaults by Houthi fighters.

Obama’s naive  paradigm of a geo-political equilibrium between Shia Muslims led by Iran and Sunni Arabs led by Saudi Arabia foundered with the dramatic intervention by the Saudi Air Force on Wednesday March 25, 2015. Attacking Houthi rebels in northern Yemen, the capital, Sana’a and targets near Aden, the Saudi operation “determination storm” began, opening a new page in Middle East history.  

warned the Saudi and Emirate allies of “bloodshed,” if attacks continue, but the Saudis mobilized 150,000 ground forces for possible action.  

said the Arab states would “join ranks and look into taking pre-emptive and defensive arrangements to maintain the Arab national security,” and stressed the dire need for “necessary measures to counter them.”

The Washington Post reported Arab leaders had effectively announced a “joint military force to intervene in neighboring states grappling with armed insurgencies.”

All of us underestimated the Saudis. Now they have emerged at the top of a Sunni coalition against Iran–limited for the moment to the Houthi insurgency in Yemen, the most impressive piece of diplomacy in the Sunni world since Nasser, and perhaps in modern times. That attributes a lot of importance to a coalition assembled for a minor matter in a small country, but it may be the start of something important: the self-assertion of the Sunni world in response to the collapse of American regional power, the threat of Sunni jihadist insurgencies, and the Shi’ite bid for regional hegemony.

Obama’s policy of leading from behind has clearly failed to stem the tide of radical Islamic extremists both Shiite and Sunni. Instead, Saudi Arabia has assumed leadership of its own coalition of at least ten Arab states to fight the menace of Iran-led Shia armies.

The Controversy and the American Jewish Community

Late on the night of Israel’s election returns, Charlie Rose of the eponymous PBS Show convened a panel of leftists to comment on the Netanyahu victory. The Charlie Rose panel was composed of Jeffrey Goldberg of The AtlanticAri Shavit of Ha’aretz, Ronen Bergman Military Intelligence Columnist of Yedioth Ahronoth, Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign against Palestine Occupation and Jerusalem Fund advocate for Anti-Israel BDS, and Lisa Goldman of the leftist +972 Magazine and Israel–Palestine Fellow of the New America Fund. The composition of Rose’s panel was unbalanced, to say the least, but, it could be argued, reflected the strong opposition to Israel represented by the left.

Watch the Charlie Rose panel discussion.

Yossi Halevy of the Shalom Hartman Institute was the only voice of reality. He said, “Israelis believe that a Palestinian State may be both an existential solution and a threat, given the impasse over negotiations.” Halevy conveyed the view that Israelis across the spectrum view an Obama consummation of an Iran nuclear deal as an existential threat. Halevy quoted left wing author David Grossman, saying that the Obama Administration on the Iran nuclear deal is “criminally naive and perilous for Israel.”

The Obama-led disputes have clearly divided the American Jewish community. Using the Soros-backed J Street, a strident, anti-Israel not-for-profit masquerading as a pro-Israel organization, as a vehicle for airing their anti-Israel rhetoric, the assault turned even more vitriolic. Today, Israel looks more like an enemy to the Obama West Wing than terror-supporting Iran.

The rabbinic leadership of Reform and Conservative Jewish denominations chastised the Netanyahu campaign for campaign remarks about “droves of Arab voters” being driven to the polls in a deliberate attempt to unseat him in programs funded by foreign interests. The Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), a leftist media outlet supported by Jewish Federation news outlets in America, reported how Rabbi Rick Jacobs, a close ally of J Street, condemned Netanyahu for his remarks, taken out of context, of why a Palestinian State was not a realistic prospect under current conditions with a corrupt PA led by President Mahmoud Abbas in a unity government with Hamas.

Not to be outdone, the Rabbinic Assembly of the Conservative Movement, whose leadership at the flagship Jewish Theological Seminary has been an active partner in Jewish Muslim dialogues with Muslim Brotherhood front groups, released a statement accusing Netanyahu of undermining “the principles upon which the State of Israel was founded.”

Further evidence of the American Jewish community divide over the Netanyahu election was reflected in a Ha’aretz report which quoted several American Reform rabbis who sharply criticized Netanyahu for remarks he had made at the end of his campaign.

Daniel Sokatch of the leftist organization the New Israel Fund, who had been taken to task by Netanyahu in campaign remarks, said in a statement issued by the group, “When the Prime Minister urged his base to come out and vote to counter ‘Arabs coming in droves to the ballot box,’ I knew, as you did, that this pandering to fear and prejudice could only exacerbate the divisions between Arab and Jewish citizens.” That the remarks had been taken out of context was ignored and painted a picture of Netanyahu as a bigot who was opposed to Arabs and peace.

The Wall Street Journal published a lead editorial with the title, “Obama’s Israel Tantrum,” suggesting that “the leader of the free world takes revenge on an ally.”  “Even if you believe the main challenge in the region is getting Israel to cede more territory to the Palestinians, that day won’t happen until Israelis feel secure. But Israelis can be forgiven for feeling the opposite with a raging civil war in Syria, Islamic State and an offshoot of al Qaeda operating near the Golan Heights, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani leading Shiite militias in Iraq, and a U.S. Administration sounding and acting as if Iran can be a more constructive partner for peace than Israel.” (Read More)

It is clear that President Obama has unleashed revenge on Israel and PM Netanyahu, outraged that the Jewish nation would not succumb to his version of foreign policy and Israel’s need to comply with his wishes. He ignores Israel’s inherent obligation to assert its sovereign right to defend its people against the existential threats by Iran and its proxies, whose rising nuclear hegemony threatens the Middle East and the US.

America’s truculent president brooks no interference in his program. By attempting to marginalize Netanyahu’s legitimate objections to America’s rapprochement with Mahdist Iran, to US cooperation with Iran in the war against ISIS, and to concluding a political agreement that will enable Iran to achieve nuclear breakout, Obama has placed Israel in an untenable position.

As the Middle East continues to devolve into chaos, Israel remains the only stable democracy in the region. Israel’s future is tied closely to America’s. Often compared to “the canary in the coal mine,” any attack on Israel, which the Iranians call “the little Satan,” will be the precursor to a major attack on the US. That Obama refuses to acknowledge this, and continues to attack and threaten Israel, bodes ill for both countries.

It is not a stretch to say that as the chaos in the Muslim nations surrounding Israel continues to grow, America’s ability to withstand being drawn into another Middle East war will decrease exponentially. Only a strong and sound foreign policy that recognizes our true allies and our true enemies will enable the US to turn this escalating disaster around.

The next war will be more terrible than we can imagine. We cannot avoid it by ignoring the warning signs all around us. Time is running out.




Also see Jerry Gordon’s collection of interviews, The West Speaks.


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